Bastidas(red trunks) plays at the 2008 1-wall juniors nationals in Queens.
NY this week shakes one of its glory days – Tyree Bastidas. That’s not a bad thing. The time has come to move on and let other players pick up where he left off.
Bastidas has been on a victory lap since July of 2007, and his reigning period extends to July of 2011, when a new champion will emerge. Every championship includes some praise of the King.
That’s appropriate for a player nearing the end of an undefeated 4-year run in all three handball versions. He was a pioneer, and for years he established records after records.
Love or hate Bastidas, and there’s plenty of people on both sides. He is the last major holdover from the days of when New York was king again in junior handball competition around the country.
Bastidas has had an impressive run, no doubt. It will take the future champions many years to break his records.
Asked how he has enjoyed his run when he played people from different countries in all three handball versions. “I’ve enjoyed every minute of it,” said Bastidas.
“Really, It’s the end of an era,” says Jurell, his brother. Graciously, he’s also said that T. Bastidas leaves behind big shoes to fill. What’s left undone, though.
T. Bastidas (green trunks) stood his ground during a rally that saw S. Jagnandan run around behind Bastidas. At least six cameras were set up around the court to record this historic victory.
Tyree Bastidas last reached the championship match of the Mayor’s Cup in 2008, when he was the unlikely upstart that almost toppled the defending champion Satish Jagnandan. That year’s match had fans turn heads in different directions as they eye-witnessed a young player stepped on the court. It was a rare appearance on the open stage for the 17-year-old junior player.
Bastidas’ expectations are much bigger these days. It is by far the most dominant player in the sport. He has transformed New York pastime into a worthy spectacle. The weekend tournament in New York City Central Park, delivered plenty of drama, including a championship match against his brother’s team.
Heavily favored, Jagnandan reached the final to play former finalist Tyree Bastidas. Jagnandan had one legendary advantage. He had been in the finals of the Mayor’s Cup nine times. Bastidas’ fierce game dismissed him and Jagnandan had no choice but to share the commanding lead in both games.
In a battle of Jagnandan’s fine skills against the thrust and hustle of Bastidas, the match turned out to be the most even championship match in recent memory. In the end, an emotional Jagnandan had to concede defeat as he saw his undefeated four year run ended.
Tyree Bastidas, the USHA most dominant player, became the youngest player to win the Mayor’s Cup on July 10, 2011.
Above from (l to r): Tyree Bastidas and Tom Kopp shake hands during the Mayor's Cup tournament. T. Kopp had previously arranged for Bastidas to be flown to Iowa to compete at the Tallcorn handball tournament. Unfortunately, Bastidas couldn't attend due to his foot injury.
Tom Kopp is a USHA player and the President of Owens Gloves, based in Iowa. He is also the Chairman of one of the biggest and oldest four-wall tournaments in the U.S. “The Tallcorn Handball Tournament”.
He supports many handball tournaments, including the Annual Mayor’s Cup in New York. T. Kopp traveled this past weekend to New York City as a sponsor of the tournament and as a loyal supporter of our game. He doesn’t bring competition with his line of gloves, he just brings pure support to the game.
Please consider buying Owen gloves whenever you can
T. Bastidas and his Midwood HS friend Domenic, pose after Bastidas captured the 1-wall nationals at the Coney Island handball courts. Can Bastidas repeat this year?
Thanks to Albert Apuzzi and Saul Gonzalez, New York handball players have been able to keep in shape by practicing and playing in a series of 1-wall organized handball events. All these men’s singles events lead to the USHA 1-wall nationals, which takes place during the first week of August. It’s not too late to sign up for the 1-wall nationals.
Yesterday’s event, and perhaps the last one before the 1-wall nationals, was one of the most competitive events of the series, as Joe Kaplan won the prize by beating Tyree Bastidas by one point.
Above(l to r): Eric Brandman, Amalie and Tyree Bastidas. They pose with the tennis courts behind them at Highland Park.
Bastidas is only 20, but he has already found a job for the summer – teaching kids how to play handball through various 1-wall handball clinics. He is a coach at the Highland and Forest Parks in Queens. The Parks Department also has affordable programs and other recreational activities for city kids of all ages.
We asked him three questions while at the handball clinics:
Q. How do you teach handball to kids of different ages?
A. I separate them in two different groups, depending on their age and ability, but pretty much I keep them working together.
Q. What’s the best part of being a coach?
A. I enjoy seeing the potential in each student. It’s really exciting to see what the kids are capable of doing and getting them to trust themselves and sticking with it.
Q. What do you like about handball?
A. Anyone can play. It doesn’t matter your age. You can learn a lot from winning and losing and it could keep you in shape all-year round.